Gaming Can Be More Than Fun

Jul 23, 2013

multipolyAs a child, I never got into it. As a teenager, I tried to forgo the boys who let it consume their whole day. As a spouse, I try to ban it from my living room, and as a mother you want to keep your children away from it as long as you can. Gaming. What is it about games or game mechanics that makes people across generations become addicted? What is it that captivates minds and captures our desire to win?

Gamification has received a lot of attention in the online world. Numbers don’t lie: A recent study by Gartner predicts that by 2014, more than 70 percent of global businesses will have at least one gamified application in their system. A Deloitte White Paper further predicts that gamification will be used in more than 25 percent of redesigned business processes by 2015. That said, there is no way to escape.

A quick recap: Gamification is the use of game mechanics in non-gaming fields. In other words, we give out points, badges, levels, lists, and challenges in a frame of compelling game mechanics to deliver an engaging user experience.

The idea behind gamification is simple: Through the use of games, we become competitive, our desire to win emerges, and we become more engaged in our work. As soon as we play the game, we become part of something bigger that pushes us that extra mile to achieve the next level, make our team proud or win for the greater cause. We stay an hour longer at work, schedule a few more meetings in, and are nicer to our clients. And because we’re being rewarded in the short-run, we increase our engagement and loyalty in the long run.

Looking at it from an HR standpoint, we could really gamify everything from recruiting to performance management. As for recruiting, our ultimate goal is clear: Attract and hire more qualified talent faster than our competitors and at much lower costs. Thanks to application numbers (quantity), cost-per-hire, and on-the-job performance measurement of new hires (quality) we have metrics that are able to track our gamification efforts.

Understanding what gamification can do for us, let’s level up our recruiting game by looking at some companies who have succeeded with it (and give gamification another chance).

Multipoly is a recruiting simulation by the Hungarian division of the multinational accountancy and consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Potential candidates are invited to participate in the virtual reality world of PwC as trainees, working for a year at the company (an equivalent of 12 days in the game). Each player has a different mission and plays in a team of other candidates.

The game is essentially used for selection, as they must attend trainings, join a community, negotiate with clients, and solve numerous exciting tasks — along the lines of the Monopoly we all know from our childhood days. For each accomplished task players receive points and get a step closer to get hired.

Fun game, you think? PwC argues that their number of applications has gone up and candidates it has hired through Multipoly need shorter training methods and present a much higher loyalty.

quixeyQuixey, a Palo-Alto based tech startup, has an app to hire software developers. The Quixey Challenge is an online coding competition where nerdy tech guys and girls have to fix a bug in a 10-line algorithm in less than a minute. The prize for winning: $100 cash and the chance to work for Quixey.

Sound boring? Not for young developer talent. It has saved the company nearly $45,000 in recruiting costs and has produced four software engineers in three months. Additionally, brand awareness is receiving a push since the game exploded in discussions on tech forums and related communities. The scores are publicly shown on the website, which acts as a natural motivator boosted by pride, achievement, and sense of ownership. What’s even smarter is that Quixey makes participants log in with their personal networks, which will naturally attract a similar audience to play the game.

goarmyEven the U.S. Army has developed a game that has attracted millions of potential recruits. America’s Army attempts to simulate the experience of an Army soldier by allowing users to play out a variety of scenarios. Instead of just containing fight scenes, the game tries to educate users about the Army and the various career paths different soldiers can take. Applications and number of recruits went up, more than nine million copies were downloaded, and the effort became a public relations sensation for the Army.

While all games are fun, they have to be measured carefully in order to determine the actual success. Gamification has worked for HR in many ways — employee engagement, health programs, and performance management. Recruiting will be a tougher game to play with major challenges being attracting the right people and recruiting them so that they can transition from game to reality.

Have you had experience with gamification in recruiting? Would you be willing to play with your talent? Share your opinion. I’d love to hear it!

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